By now, most of us know the dangers that can come from working on a construction site. But what about the dangers lurking the rest of the time? According to the latest toolbox talks put together for September, Suicide Prevention Month, those dangers are literally “killing us.”
The facts are sobering. In multiple years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found construction and extraction was the Number 1 occupational group with male suicides (15% in 2012, 16% in 2015). In the general population, suicide occurs in 27 out of every 100,000 people. In construction, the number is closer to 53 suicides per 100,000 workers. In the U.S., a construction worker dies by suicide once every 12 minutes. Another way to look at it: 123 of us die from suicide each day. View: https://constructionsuicideprevention.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/1_Construction_and_Suicide.pdf
The Associated General Contractors of Missouri is working full throttle during September, with the kick-off last week of Suicide Awareness Week (Sept. 5-9.) The AGCMO safety team and its Safety Committee members held safety stand-down’s at Alberici Constructors, Inc., McCarthy Building Companies, TJ Weis Contracting, Inc. and at BJC Healthcare and NGA job sites. They also delivered specialized training to Guarantee Electrical, PARIC and Holland Construction, among others. QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Mental Health Suicide Prevention Training, a two-hour training program, is available to members as well as the two-hour, Vital Cog Training – Construction Industry Focused Suicide Prevention and Awareness Training.
AGCMO has delivered its message to more than 1800 workers so far this month with its Pledge of Hope Suicide Awareness Campaign, offering training, materials, toolbox talks and professional resources to both employers and workers. Materials/resources can be found at: https://bit.ly/3LczkIC AGCMO’s 12 Mental Health Monday Toolbox Talks, prepared in conjunction with Washington University in St. Louis, can be sourced at: https://bit.ly/3BaJHYR
“Suicide is a serious problem in the construction industry,” says Brandon Anderson, vice president, safety, AGCMO. “Construction is a high stress job with an accepting culture for alcohol and drug use, as well as a ‘tough guy’ culture.,We are committed to offering our members the necessary tools and resources to help save lives. Mental health needs to always be a part of the safety conversation.”
To stay safe on the jobsite as it relates to mental health and suicide awareness, Anderson reminds workers to look out for one another, identify potential warning signs, and have the courage and compassion to ask, “Are you ok?” As a worker, if you are struggling with your mental health, it is important to ask for help. You are not alone. There are many organizations and resources out there that can help:
- Your employer’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or your union’s Member Assistance Program (MAP) may provide mental health services or can connect you to a counselor
- Your doctor can provide recommendations, referrals, and treatment options
- The United Way at 211 can provide assistance locating long-term mental health resources, talk through a problem, or explore mental health treatment options
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health America has tools to help you find the right mental health professional.
- OSHA’s “Construction Industry, Preventing Suicides” webpage provides resources for employers and employees.
Immediate help is available through the new 988 Direct Dial or text connection to crisis counselors’ service. The 24-hour Suicide Prevention Hotline also provides a lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or via the Web at: suicidepreventionlifeline.org
AGCMO also is taking a leadership role on the issue nationally, with a speaking engagement this week at
The American Contractors Insurance Group (ACIG) Safety/Claims Workshop in San Diego, CA. Anderson also serves as co-chair of two national task forces, the new AGC of America Mental Health Suicide Prevention Task Force and the CPWR (aka: The Center for Construction Research and Training) Peer Support Task Force.
For additional information or to schedule training, contact Brandon Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 636-887-5207.
The Associated General Contractors of Missouri (AGCMO) represents the united voice of the construction industry throughout the state of Missouri. AGC of Missouri represents nearly 550 commercial building, industrial, highway, transportation, and utility infrastructure contractors, industry partners and related firms in 110 counties across the state of Missouri. AGCMO operates offices in St. Louis, Jefferson City and Springfield. Visit: www.agcmo.org